Summary: This teaching is taken from my book “Beaten, Battered, Bruised & Blessed” (Christians Recognizing and Responding to Domestic Violence) more information can be found at www.c21c.org My prayer is it will help you in Pastoral ministry.
This teaching is taken from my book “Beaten, Battered, Bruised & Blessed” (Christians Recognizing and Responding to Domestic Violence) more information can be found at www.c21c.org My prayer is it will help you in Pastoral ministry.
Cycle of Domestic Violence
As you read this book many women are being beaten, battered and bruised by a violent man, read the statistic in Appendix 4 to get an idea of the scale of the problem. In this chapter, as you seek to understand the cycle of abuse, allow the compassion of the Holy Spirit to touch your heart and perhaps make the following a prayer for those victims who are crying out for help at this moment;
Ps 7:9 O righteous God, who searches minds and hearts, bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure.
This is a time of walking on egg shells for the victim, not knowing just when the thumping will come. As tension builds within the perpetrator for various reasons such as family pressures, work stresses or his own thought patterns. The perpetrator’s behaviour becomes more aggressive and intense regardless of how hard the victim tries to please him or calm him down. Often, because the victim knows the thumping is coming, she is eager to get it over and done with, sometimes to protect the children, thus accepting her abuser accusations ‘you asked for it’ or ‘you made me do it’.
Because of the perpetrator’s physical strength and his sincere and terrifying threats to thump her and/or the children or damage and destroy personal and sentimental objects, the victim feels that she is under her husband’s control. The perpetrator’s verbal attacks will debilitate her even further even though she attempts to please and appease him, yet knowing the trumping is on its way. It must be remembered the controlling, domination and manipulation of a victim is constant and not just at this period of the cycle of domestic violence. The Psalmist describes well the nature of the perpetrator, His mouth is full of curses and lies and threats; trouble and evil are under his tongue. Ps 10:7
The thumping can so often be more than a punch in the face or on the arm, it can involve kicking, chocking etc. (See section on Physical Abuse). After the threats a violent explosion occurs which is usually carried out in a fit of rage and, of course the perpetrator’s victim catches the fall out. These outbursts of violence are likely to intensify over time and in many cases lead to the victim’s departure or death. domestic violence of course involves more than the physical abuse. (See Categories of domestic violence).
The perpetrator may feel remorse, ashamed and/or guilty because of the thumping he has just given his victim. If he is a wife beating “Christian” he may well repent of the thumping. He may be afraid of the consequences and attempt to deny or minimize the thumping and refuse to take the blame for his behaviour. He may even blame his victim for the thumping because she provoked him or because she deserved it! He may also diminish the thumping by claiming he was momentarily out of control and did not realise what he was doing. Sadly, many women believe this ’reasoning’ and are once again trapped by this trickery because to admit otherwise would be to concede to the potentially dangerous circumstances she and the children are living in. Many victims believe the perpetrators turn around and that the thumping will never happen again. It is always good to bear in mind that there is a big difference from “repentance” and “regret” or feeling sorry for what one has done, as the Apostle paul points out in 2 Cor 7:9-10 “For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”
The fruit that follows Godly repentance is also different from the fruit that follows deceptive worldly sorrow; “See what this Godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done.” 2 Cor 7:11
If the victim leaves the perpetrator following the thumping, he will usually try extremely hard to ‘Win her Back’ or ’Buy her Back’ by showering her with extravagant gifts, being loving and attentive, and promising that he will never hurt her again.
The victim often wants to believe that he has changed. If he is a wife beating “Christian” she may be under pressure from the church and other Christians to accept his claims of repentance. If she still refuses to go back, the true fruit of the perpetrator will be born, resorting to threats and even another violent thumping. The perpetrator may set about or threaten to make life ‘hell’ for his estranged victim promising to destroy property, withhold finance, kill the children, tell relatives etc. The victim may return out of fear, sadly this is the time when many domestic murders take place. The perpetrator may attempt to draw his victim back by an alternative method, he may claim helplessness, he cannot cope without her, threatening suicide if she does not return. Many victims feel needed and so return or that they must save him from suicide otherwise they will be to blame for his death and so return. There is a significant increase in the possibility of a woman and her children being murdered when the man threatens suicide. It appears he doesn’t want to go alone. Church Workers beware of the deception in perpetrators that the Apostle Paul reminds of us in Rom 3:13-18